Mitchell Labiak’s recent interview with Steffen Szeidl highlights a dichotomy our industry faces (14.06.19). 

Sustainable building

Source: Shutterstock/LadyRhino

While new sustainable buildings are an important part of becoming a more eco-friendly culture, the fact remains that we as an industry need to put 10 times as much effort into making our current buildings more sustainable than we do our new ones.

The majority of the infrastructure that will be with us in 2050 already exists and, as such, the way in which we interact with our current buildings is vital. Property professionals should focus on changing buildings from within. The tools needed to make these changes, and the guidelines to support them, already exist.

Our Manchester office has recently undergone an environmentally focused refurbishment and is now the only ‘excellent’ BREEAM-accredited office space in an existing building in the North West.

BREEAM is considered one of the world’s leading sustainability assessment methods. It helps companies identify, manage and mitigate risk by keeping sustainability at the forefront throughout the planning, design, construction and refurbishment process. Refurbishments of this type are uncommon, but we hope that in the future fitting out an office with the most sustainable features available will be the industry standard.

New sustainable building practices certainly have their place, and we applaud Szeidl in his efforts to make buildings more environmentally friendly. We would encourage Szeidl, along with the rest of the industry, to take the considerable research available in developing sustainable buildings and apply this knowledge to refurbishing and improving our current infrastructure.

David McBride, partner, Malcolm Hollis Manchester